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Blankenbaker Lectures

Blankenbaker Lecture on Professional Responsibility

Keith Harper 2013 Blakenbaker Lecture

2013 Blankenbaker Lecture (video)

April 15, 2013 UM Law Welcomes Mr. Keith M. Harper at 4 pm in Room 201, Law Building 

Keith Harper is a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend in Washington, D.C., who focuses his practice on litigation and Native American affairs, representing tribes and individual Indians. A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, he continues to serve as class counsel in the landmark Indian trust funds lawsuit, Cobell v. Kempthorne, a case that recently settled for an aggregate $3.4 billion. 

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Harper was a litigator at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in the Washington, D.C. office. During his tenure at NARF, he also taught "Federal Indian Law" as Adjunct Professor at Catholic University Columbus School of Law and at American University Washington College of Law.

Mr. Harper served as a Principal Advisor and Chair of the Native American Domestic Policy Committee for the Obama campaign and then as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team in the Energy & Environment Cluster. After law school, he clerked for Judge Lawrence W. Pierce of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

EDUCATION: University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Sociology and Psychology; New York University School of Law, J.D.  


Blankenbaker Sheep Ranch where Joseph Blankenbaker worked. Photo courtesy of Carole GrangerJoseph N. Blankenbaker was born in Madison, Virginia in 1885. Blankenbaker moved west at the age of 23. After working for a year in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, he arrived in Virgelle, Montana to work on a sheep and cattle ranch owned by his second cousin. In 1918 he left the ranch and began working for the Stockman’s National Bank at Fort Benton, and in 1925 he went to the Scandinavian American Bank at Big Timber. Blankenbaker then moved to Helena and worked for several years in a government loan office. In 1938 he began working for the Northwestern Bank and Union Trust Company in Helena, and in 1944 he resigned to become affiliated with the Northwestern National Bank of Great Falls, where he remained until he retired in 1953. In 1975, at the age of 90, Blankenbaker established a foundation “to express his thanks to the people of Montana for treating him so well.” The Blankenbaker Foundation provides an annual endowment to The University of Montana School of Law to supplement educational programs in professional responsibility, the primary objective being to increase sensitivity to the responsibility for leadership and competence in the practice of law. Blankenbaker is now deceased, but the trust carries on in his name. The Blankenbaker Foundation is managed by three trustees: W. Bjarne Johnson, a private attorney in the firm of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C., Great Falls; John Koppelman, Bank President, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; and Casey Dawson, Trust Officer, Wells Fargo Private Client Services.


These lectures are generously funded by gifts from the
Joseph N. Blankenbaker Foundation.


The Lecture Series

The Right Honorable Beverley McLachlin,
P.C., Chief Justice of Canada
April 27, 2009
The Honorable Robert Yazzie
Chief Justice, Navajo Nation
April 25, 2002
Dean John Edward Sexton
School of Law, New York University
April 11, 1990
Professor Roger Cramton
Cornell Law School
March 30, 1982 
Dean Mary Kay Kane
University of California Hastings College
of the Law
August 28, 2007 
The Honorable Sidney R. Thomas
United States Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit
October 19, 2000 
The Honorable Gordon R. Bennett
Montana’s First Judicial District
April 5, 1989
Jack H. Watson, Jr.
White House Chief of Staff
Carter Administration
February 10, 1981
The Honorable Leif B. “Bart” Erickson
United States Magistrate Judge
District of Montana
March 7, 2006 
The Honorable Diane P. Wood
United States Court of Appeals
for the Seventh Circuit
September 20, 1999 
Justin A. Stanley
Former President of the
American Bar Association
April 22, 1988
The Honorable Byron R. White
Associate Justice
Supreme Court of the United States
April 4, 1980 
The Honorable Deanell Reece Tacha
Chief Judge of the United States Court
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
April 14, 2005 
Professor David Luban
Georgetown University Law Center
September 14, 1998 
The Honorable James R. Browning
Chief Judge, United States
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
1987
The Honorable William J. Jameson
Senior United States District Judge
District of Montana
November 16, 1979 
Steven Keeva
Author and Assistant Managing Editor
of the ABA Journal
April 15, 2004
The Honorable Jane Richards Roth
United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit
April 1, 1996 
Professor Deborah L. Rhode
Stanford Law School
April 24, 1986
The Honorable John C. Mowbray
Associate Justice, Nevada Supreme Court
April 20, 1978
Nickolas C. Murnion
Kennedy Profile in Courage
Award Recipient
May 1, 2003 
United States Senator Max Baucus
April 16, 1992
Professor Thomas L. Shaffer
Washington and Lee University
March 21, 1985
Michael Josephson
President, The Josephson Institute of Ethics
April 23, 1991 
Professor Robert R. McKay
New York University Law School
March 8, 1983